Nutrition Corner: Reduce food waste by making soup

Nutrition Corner - Mary Ehret

Food waste is a big problem in the United States. USDA reports the average person wastes about $370 worth of food each year. One of the suggestions to reduce food waste is to repurpose and freeze food.

It is reported that fruits and vegetables are one of the most common foods tossed out. Is it possible we did not plan to include them in our meals, store them properly, or just overbought?

To prevent tossing out fruits and vegetables, plan your meals before shopping. Buy only what you need, then carry out your plan. Write down fruits and vegetables for meals and snacks. This can serve as a reminder.

Next, learn how to store fruits and vegetables properly. The Penn State Pennsylvania Produce Guide is a great resource to download and keep handy. This guide describes the best way to store produce as well as how to buy so it lasts the longest. If you do not have internet, call our office for a copy of the guide.

Lastly, we all overestimate how much food to buy. Find ways to repurpose leftover fruits and vegetables. Freeze over-ripened fruits for a quick breakfast smoothie. Bag leftover veggies for soups. Have a special place in your freezer for leftover veggies.

Soups are great to make all year round. Making soups at home can be low in cost and a quick easy-to-make dinner. Frozen leftover veggies make soup economical as well as reducing food waste. Here is how to make soup from your leftovers

Start with sautéing a chopped onion; add left over veggies. Next, choose a protein — either a pound of cooked beef, chicken, sausage, ham or a 16 oz. can of drained and rinsed beans. Add a starch, rice, pasta, diced potatoes or beans if not a protein source. Add a broth, chicken, beef, vegetables or diced tomatoes. Broth should measure one quart. Last, but not lease, add your favorite seasonings.

Simmer until heated through and or tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. Serves four.

Reduce your food waste. Make soup. Freeze leftovers for an easy ready-made dinner or lunch.

Nutrition Corner

Mary Ehret